CHARLESTOWN, Mass. — A Hampden native assumed command of the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat during a ceremony on Friday.
Cmdr. Sean Kearns assumed command of the USS Constitution during a change of command ceremony aboard the ship at the Charlestown Navy Yard on Friday morning.
Kearns, a 1987 graduate of Hampden Academy, became the 73rd commander of “Old Ironsides” after relieving Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Matt Bonner.
Kearns completed a tour at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command in Newport, R.I., as the director of Fleet Enlisted Engineering Training for the Navy. He is an alumnus of Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was commissioned as a U.S. Navy ensign aboard the USS Constitution in 1994.
Kearns previously served as Lt. Cmdr. of the USS San Antonio.
Bonner, a Meredith, N.H. native, is a graduate of the Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. He will move on to his next assignment on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
The 44-gun USS Constitution was built in Boston and launched on Oct. 21, 1797.
The ship fought in three wars, including the War of 1812, where it defeated four British warships. It was recognized for 14 significant actions during the war.
It served for four decades before being taken out of active service in 1855.
The USS Constitution is now a featured attraction on Boston’s Freedom Trail. The ship and its crew of sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history to more than 500,000 visitors each year.